why sooo many bad robots in 07

I am really disapointed in the lack of working robots this year. I think the reason why we see so many bad robots is because teams think they have to do everything. There is a saying jack of all master of none. Another reason why i think teams dont do well is they make the most complex robots i have ever seen K.I.S.S. I know there are a few good hybred robots out there. But there few and far between. I would love to see teams next year tackle one task first and then add another when the first one is finshed.

not all teams have the best resources im sure all the teams have done the best they could i know you guys and my team are very lucky to have great sponsers from BMS and J&J, but more teams sould also try using K.I.S.S. it is the best way.

I haven’t seen alot of bad robots that were bad because they tried to do everything, though I do not deny their existence. I’ve seen alot of bad robots because of a poor gripper, or a poor drivetrain. Usually, it has been a poor gripper. By poor gripper I mean slow grab, poor hold, slow release, awkward release onto the rack, holding the tube vertically or worse, etc. Also, there are a few that attempted to be ramps only, but failed, or ended with sub-par ramps.

I agree that there are alot of bad robots, but I disagree that there are more bad robots than normal.

I admit that, at first, my team did try to do arm and ramp but it was in the middle of the building process when we realized that it just wasnt happening so we became a SUPER COOL rampbot.

It looks like quite a few teams have reused drivetrains from previous years, and ended up with a robot that has little ground clearance and can’t climb a ramp. Or they clean sheet designed a robot that can’t climb. The ramp bonus is so large that this pretty much eliminates those robots from challenging for nationals.

It’s an interesting juggle this year, deciding where to best allocate the weight to design a robot that does at least one thing well. I dare say that most teams have to live with decisions made early in the 6 week build window and if the end result is not optimal, time and money constraints limit their ability to make improvements.

“bad” is a relative term. If a team is young, having a robot that moves isn’t “bad” for them. Remember, you were a rookie once too…

I also think “Bad” is a bad word for it.
Many teams did try and go for both and it didnt work out. Our team had to decide on a type for us because we knew we didnt want to do everything. We decided to make a scorer because there would be many ramps. Teams always try to do the Jack of all trades but it doesnt work out most of the time

Personal opinion: the word bad is appropriate, however, it shoudln’t be applied to the robots out there, because they are pretty impressive.

It is more like bad luck… shrugs


I’m not so sure there are that many ‘bad’ ones as compared to previous years. You being on team 25, you would’ve gone to championships, so your last memory of FIRST would have been the arbitrarily high quality at Atlanta, rather than the much more down-to-earth quality at regionals. Think to a regional last year: How many robots could shoot autonomous? How many robots couldn’t shoot at all? How many teams did you see just setting ramming autonomous modes because they couldn’t do any better?

So here’s my theory:
I think more teams might be thought of as bad because there is only one way to score points this year within the non-endgame time, and it requires advanced manipulating. Last year, if your shooter didn’t work, you could at least ram balls in the low goals. In 2005, you could push tetras under the towers. In 2004, you could, again, push balls into the low goals. In 2003, you could push bins across the playing field into your own zone. There is no way for a box-on-wheels to score this year other than to climb a ramp, and that’s more of an end-game bonus that all previous years had anyway.

So the short version: There are just as many bad robots as last year, but this year’s game has fewer opportunities for them to make lemonade from their lemons, unlike past games where there was always something ‘simple’ to do.

Instead of jumping on Shaun’s choice of words, can we focus on the issue he’s brought up? The FRC is much more exciting when there are more quality robots on the field. A drop in quality across the board is a serious issue. I believe there are a few factors.

  • As pointed out, many teams have tried to do too much this year
  • Not enough attention paid to manipulator design
  • With the Banebot difficulties, teams had to spend more time on their drivetrains, especially at their initial event. (Installing new carrier plates)
  • In past games we had full specifications for our task. Last year we knew there was a 4’ foot ramp with a 30* incline. This year teams were forced to try and figure out what the specifications would be. This was a great challenge, and simulates a real world engineering decision. Unfortunately many teams made poor assumptions. (28" is wide enough for a ramp, we only need to climb 15*, etc.)

If you want to talk about why all robots are great and how “it’s not about the robot”, do it in a different thread. Let’s leave this thread to discuss what’s caused the drop in quality, and what we can do in the future to improve it.

Who has the right to say that another team tried to do too much? It really isn’t any of our business. What they decided to build their robot to do is their choice… and unless somebody else payed their registration fee, their choice alone.

**We **can’t do anything to improve the overall quality of robots, at least not like this. That is up to each and every team that chooses to compete. The way to improve the quality would be to provide guides, and to help the teams who came up with not-so-quality robots.

Instead of saying “Teams are building pieces of junk, they need to do better.”, we should be encouraging people. If we want to effect the target group of teams, we shouldn’t talk about them in a thread which details how crappy their robots are.We should be making whitepapers on effective robot design; telling them what some effective strategies for our teams have been. Each team is different, and what works for us may not work for the next guy.

All I’m saying is that we are all going about this wrong. We shouldn’t be talking as if we are better than the teams in question. While some of us may be able to build a higher quality of robot, the teams that need help will not listen if it is put across this way.

The carrier plate issue is the gift that keeps on giving; all these pictures on CD combined with what I’ve seen at two regionals just makes me skittish about using them on drive. (However, I do give props to the BaneBots gearboxes for making it easier than years past to go omnidirectional. If someone were to bring to market a reliable one-CIM gearbox with a gear reduction similar to the BaneBots, I think they’d make a buck or two next season.)

One other thing that might factor into the equation: the rack itself. It is, arguably, the most complex structure FIRST has ever put on the carpet. More importantly, it’s a pain in the butt to really replicate short of building the whole thing. (I’ve noodled a bit with 1293’s three-spider-leg mockup, and I’ve noodled a bit with the field-spec practice rack at Chesapeake. You can feel a difference.) Many teams with limited budgets or manpower didn’t build a full rack; I don’t know of one within an hour of Columbia. If you don’t know how the rack will react, you can’t be fully prepared for the rack–and I’m thinking this element might have caught some arm teams by surprise.

I don’t think anybody’s trying to hand out bottles of Haterade around here–they’re simply trying to get a better appreciation for why the quality, real or perceived, of robots this season is off compared to past seasons. If we start noticing a trend, perhaps we can then work to address the ones that are clobbering a lot of teams.

Same reason there are bad robots every year.
-Lack of resources.

  • Poor planning and use of time.
  • Bad parts
    -Trying to do too much
  • Not thouroughly understanding the concept of the game or the rules.
    We’ve had bad robots before and we’ll have even more bad robots next year.
    It’s nothing new.

With the similarity of this game to previous games, I can say I was a bit disappointed that more robots were not finished when the arrived at the event, and working well when they were placed on the field. I did notice a decline in the number of really good robots at the LA regional this year. We’ll see hor San Diego goes.

I woud like to see FIRST award teams for the most complete use of the Kit of Parts… This might help those teams that do not have the precision machine shop sponsors or teams that have a lower budget. It would also help FIRST validate the generous donations of the sponsors.
In my 9 years of advising a couple of FIRST teams, #144 and #1038, I have seen robots evolve into extremely complex machines that are difficult to build and maintain within the constraints of a FIRST season.
We always try to keep it simple, sometimes we actually do. It seems to me that many teams think that designing a robot means to solve a problem with the most complex device possible when it should be to find an elegant simple solution…This leads to “bad” robots (over-designed or under-engineered) that can not begin or finish a competition weekend.
Although I haven’t seen too many “bad” robots. As a matter of fact, all of the robots I saw in Pittsburgh were great creations from teams that wouldn’t have had the experience at all without FIRST.

To help address the manipulator lack of quality I have witnessed this year, I will be publishing a manipulator white paper titled, “The Mighty Four Bar: FIRST Robotics Applications”. This paper will go through the different types of 4 bars and how the 4 bar is the greatest manipulator type that can be used in FIRST. Its lightweight and SIMPLE design make it really easy for arm operators to control and makes it easy to fix. It can also be combined with other mechanisms like linear slides, turrets, and other 4 bars to enhance capablility.

I think it’s wrong to say there are “bad” robots this season.

Some teams just started off, their rookies, they might not know an “easier” way of something something and it’s not like they have the money. The longer you’ve been a team the more knowledge you gain.

If they weren’t a rookie team, maybe their robot wasn’t really “bad.” FIRST is a huge committment. It can be really hard to get there everyday to work. Maybe some teams just couldn’t do that. And maybe some teams had ideas, it just didn’t work as they had planned.

[strike]“bad robots in 07” [/strike] wrong to say.

First year here so i can’t comment on the “drop in quality”.
What we can do to improve the quality of 'bots in the future is much easier to deal with. SHARE what you know. Find the 2-3 rookie, or young, teams in your area and help them out. Share what you know about, drive trains, scoring devices and the rules of the game. Share your resources: mentors, programming and tools. This will help quality, nothing else.

The enticement of pre-made wheels for exotic drives caused many teams with no experience with this kind of drive to give it a shot. Many discovered that it wasn’t as easy as it looked within a six week build time.

You are right. Many veteran teams are willing to share their knowledge. Moreover, there are many resources on CD and FIRST websites.

However, this thread is discussing the drop in quality of robots overall through FIRST. There are not as many robots putting up tubes as tetras in the 2005 game.

Due to the variable nature of the tube and rack, I think it is harder for teams to adapt. The tube has been inflated out of FIRST specs at regionals, unintentionally. Some teams only designed their robots to work with the official specs. As we have seen through the years, if you design your robot to work with extreme precision of the game piece/object, you are going to be disappointed(most of the time, atleast). Another common trend is more than usual teams end up dropping their tubes because they are not gripped properly. And then, they try to put it on the rack and waste even more time because the tube will most likely drop on the floor anyway. Paul, I hope your white paper will address some of these concerns for teams interested.

The rack jerking around at times with no effort doesn’t help either. It looks like many teams take a long time to get into position, and then if the rack moves, they have to reposition. Granted, the stingers are there for a reason and you can use them to your advantage to hold the spider leg in place. Many teams don’t/cannot use it. As Billfred pointed out, it is also hard to replicate accurately. We have had to reprogram the heights of the spider legs at every regional - but that isn’t so hard.

This is just my opinion. I had no intentions of offending anybody/team/robot.